Immediately After a Sexual Assault
Get support. Reach out to a friend, co-worker, family member, or someone else you trust. You can also get support from a counselor or an agency that provides specialized services for sexual assault victims.
Preserve all physical evidence, even if you are unsure about whether you want to make a police report. Do not shower, bathe, wash your hands, eat, drink, or brush your teeth before you have a medical examination. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper (not plastic) bag.
If you want to make a police report, call 911 immediately. The 911 operator will locate the law enforcement agency in the area where the assault occurred and send officers to take your report. The police can assist you in getting specialized medical care and an evidentiary examination. They can also help you preserve other evidence and address any concerns you have related to your personal safety and security.
Get specialized medical care as soon as possible after a sexual assault, even if you do not have any apparent physical injuries, and even if you do not want to make an immediate police report. A medical evaluation is important for your own personal health and well-being.
- It is recommended that you seek medical care from a specialized sexual assault treatment center or a hospital emergency department (“ER”) that provides medical/evidentiary services for victims 24 hours a day. You should discuss with the medical provider the risks of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, as well as any other health concerns you have. If you suspect you may have been drugged, talk with the medical provider about having blood and/or urine samples taken for testing. In many communities, medical/evidentiary examinations are conducted up to 120 hours (5 days) following a sexual assault. Sexual assault examinations should be provided at no cost to victims.
- You have the right to have a sexual assault examination and have evidence collected and stored even if you do not want to make a police report at the time. Check with the medical provider and the law enforcement jurisdiction in your area about policies related to the storage of sexual assault evidence kits for victims who do not want to consent to release their evidence immediately.